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Report: USMNT to play friendly against Venezuela in Cincinnati

The friendly serves as a tune up before Gold Cup competition.

Soccer: International Friendly Soccer-Panama at USA Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The United States Men’s National Team returns to Ohio once again to play to compete this summer. The Stars & Stripes are already scheduled to play at Cleveland’s FirstEnergy Stadium in this summer’s Gold Cup, but it appears new U.S. head coach Gregg Berhalter and his staff intend on making a pit stop in the Queen City.

Cincinnati Soccer Talk reported that the Venezuelan National Team shared its plans to face off against the United States in Cincinnati via the team’s official social media channels. This fixture makes sense as the Stars & Stripes prepare for the Gold Cup and Venezuela prepares for the Copa America.

The translation of the Instagram post — courtesy of Massive Report’s own Guilherme Torres — reads as follows:

“The Venezuelan National Team has confirmed two friendly matches in preparation for the 2019 Copa America in Brazil. The team will play the United States in Cincinnati on June 9, a FIFA window, and Ecuador on June 1, at the Hard Rock Stadium, in Miami.

The coaching staff led by Rafael Dudamel has planned on four friendlies leading up to the tournament, including three against squads that will also compete at Copa America - the USA, Mexico and Ecuador.

The opponent of the last match is yet to be confirmed, but it will happen on Venezuelan soil right before the team’s departure to the United States.”

The post indicates that the match is scheduled for June 9th but doesn’t list a venue.

Steven Goff, a writer for The Washington Post, indicated that Cincinnati could host a potential friendly as well. The Queen City boasts two strong facilities for a competitive soccer game but it will take some work to make it happen. Paul Brown Stadium and Nippert Stadium both feature artificial playing surfaces. For this match to happen, a natural grass surface would likely need to be installed. Paul Brown Stadium, home of the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals, is vacant throughout the summer. Major League Soccer expansion side FC Cincinnati plays a home match at Nippert Stadium on May 25 against the New York Red Bulls and won’t return home until June 22, leaving enough time to make it logistically possible.

With this game serving as preparation for the Gold Cup, it will likely feature Columbus Crew SC stars Wil Trapp, Zack Steffen and Gyasi Zardes, who were all recently called up for friendlies against Ecuador on March 21 and Chile on March 26. This game will allow Black & Gold fans the chance to see these three Columbus players on the international level just two hours south. It also may provide the last chance for Crew fans to see Steffen before he leaves for Manchester City when the transfer window opens in July.